The Queen should be given a new royal yacht – likely to cost at least £60m – as a way to help overturn Britain's mood of austerity, according to Cabinet minister Michael Gove.
The Education Secretary suggested that greater efforts should be made to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year to stop it being overshadowed by the Olympic Games.
In a letter to Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, Mr Gove raised the prospect of replacing the Royal Yacht Britannia, decommissioned in 1997, despite Government spending cuts forcing the Royal Navy to scrap or mothball several of its ships.
"In spite, and perhaps because of the austere times, the celebration should go beyond those of previous jubilees and mark the greater achievement that the diamond anniversary represents," Mr Gove recommended.
Arguing that events such as concerts and street parties were "transient," Mr Gove was quoted by The Guardian as calling for a "longer lasting legacy" for the occasion.
"My suggestion would be a gift from the nation to her Majesty; thinking about David Willetts's excellent suggestion of a royal yacht, and something tangible to commemorate this momentous occasion."
Should public funds not be available, a private donor should be sought, he added.